Rafael Nadal wrote yet another page in tennis history at the Australian Open 2022. The Spanish champion won for the second time in Melbourne Park, recovering two sets of Daniil Medvedev in the final. The former world number 1 arrived in Australia without great expectations, having recovered from a serious foot injury and having contracted the Coronavirus just before flying 'Down Under'
Thanks to this surprising victory, the Majorcan overtook Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the all-time Grand Slam standings. The 35-year-old Iberian will try to reach 22 Majors already at Roland Garros, waiting to understand whether or not Nole will be present in Paris.
Nadal will return to action in Acapulco next week, to then compete in the Indian Wells Masters 1000 (his presence in Miami has not been confirmed). During a long interview with 'Diario De Cadiz', Benito Perez-Barbadillo admitted that Rafa has a better relationship with Federer than Djokovic.
The Swiss was one of the first to congratulate Nadal after his Australian Open triumph.
Barbadillo on Rafael Nadal
"Yes, I think so [that Rafael Nadal gets along better with Federer than Djokovic], but I don't know why," Perez-Barbadillo said.
"It is true that Rafa and Federer get along very well and that they are regularly in contact through mobile messages. Could be that Rafa and Roger get along better, period. Because I can assure you that all three are very good people." Perez-Barbadillo, who has also worked with Djokovic in the past, further disclosed that he had advised the Serb to keep his rivalry with Nadal "on the court" before parting ways with him in 2011.
He believes Djokovic did follow his advice, as he has maintained good relations with Nadal since then. "When I stopped working with Djokovic in 2011, the only advice I gave him was to keep his rivalry with Nadal on the court, not to face him outside of competition," Perez-Barbadillo said.
"And I think he listened to me because outside the two also get along. I hope the situation hasn't changed after the last episode in Australia." The hard-working Spaniard proved his mettle during his most recent Grand Slam triumph.
He overcame a 2 set deficit against World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev in the final. The Spaniard not only won the match but also won fans’ hearts (all over again). Nadal, who was a doubt for the “Happy Slam”, played and won against some of the best players on the tour. Apart from his 5-set thriller against Medvedev, he defeated the Italian Matteo Berrettini in a 4-set semi-final.